Editor’s note: Many Americans believe that most federal workers live in or around Washington, D.C. In reality, federal workers live in every state in the country, every congressional district, and every U.S. territory. For example, the “red” states of Alabama, Utah, and West Virginia have a disproportionate number of federal workers, compared to the national average. This CHN blog post, published on January 17, 2019 during the longest shutdown in U.S. history, examines how communities in Huntsville, Alabama, Ogden, Utah, and Clarksville, West Virginia were affected.
After hitting a record low of 7.8 percent in 2021, new data shows the government’s Supplemental Poverty Measure jumped to 12.4 percent last year. That’s a nearly 60 percent increase. And it’s all because politicians allowed proven income support programs to expire. I’m an expert on poverty. I’ve lived it most of my life in Iowa. I studied it as a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow in rural West Virginia and in Washington, D.C.. And now I help people experiencing poverty across the country tell their own stories to change policy.
The shutdown and deep cuts twin-threat edition. A small group of House Republicans want extreme cuts and items from the right-wing wish list in federal spending bills, If Speaker McCarthy would allow a stopgap spending bill that would be acceptable on a bipartisan basis to come to the floor, it would pass. But so far he is trying for a Republican bill, and so he – and the nation – are being held hostage. The twin threats before us are a (1) shutdown that, if it lasts longer than a few days, will slow or stop services, hurt workers, and threaten the economy and (2) ever harsher cuts and restrictions demanded as the price of keeping the government open.
The Coalition on Human Needs today delivered a letter to U.S. Senators calling for more funding for WIC as part of a concurrent resolution that must pass in order to keep the federal government open and running.
Senate and House Democrats this week introduced the Child Care Stabilization Act, which would provide $16 billion in mandatory federal funds each year over the next five years to prevent tens of thousands of child care facilities across the country from having to shut their doors.
In 2021, poverty and child poverty declined to historic lows. There were 3.37 million fewer poor children in 2021 than in 2020, a drop from 9.7 percent to 5.2 percent of children in poverty in just that one year. But in 2022, this unprecedented progress was painfully reversed. The number of poor children rose by a stunning 5.1 million children over the previous year, increasing to 12.4 percent of all children.
The Coalition on Human Needs and 681 local, state, and national groups delivered a message to Congress Tuesday: do your duty and keep government running. The groups delivered a letter to every member of the House and Senate urging passage of a clean, bipartisan continuing resolution (CR), including “emergency funding that supports current services and addresses urgent needs and is free of poison pill policy riders that are harmful and irrelevant to the functions of government.”
The not everyone back to school edition. It’s September, and our children really should be back at school. But millions are missing – described as chronically absent. Why? Part of the explanation may be academic disengagement during the pandemic. Another part is the nation’s youth mental health crisis – the two causes are probably related, although the youth mental health crisis existed before the pandemic began.
When expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments ended in December 2021, many families had a harder time paying bills and putting food on the table, and their levels of financial stress increased. That’s one of many findings of a recently released survey of more than 1,000 households that received in the benefits in the continental U.S., and another 500 households in Puerto Rico.
A key provision to reduce prices for seniors came closer to reality Tuesday as the Biden Administration announced the first ten prescription drugs that will be subject to price negotiations between pharmaceutical companies and Medicare. Under the Inflation Reduction Act, Medicare now has the power to directly negotiate drug prices with manufacturers for the first time in the federal program’s nearly 60-year history.
The clean energy and infrastructure edition. Two of President Biden’s most formidable and far-reaching accomplishments while in office include passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. Last week, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act; November will mark the second anniversary of the infrastructure law.
Sixty years after the historic March on Washington, which featured Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, civil rights, faith, and labor activists will return this weekend for another march. Among those speaking at the event will be Rev. King’s eldest son, Martin Luther King III; his spouse, Arndrea Waters King; and Rev. Al Sharpton, President and Founder of the National Action Network.